“Life is a combination of magic, steamed dumplings and port wine.” Maxim
Taipa Village Cultural Association exclusively presents the first solo exhibition “Degustation” which showcases a collection of films created by Macau-based Russian-born film director Maxim Bessmertny. This exhibition will screen Maxim’s award-winning narrative film “Tricycle Thief”, which was world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, won the 2015 Gold Kodak Award for the best short film, and has been played continuously in Macau, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Other recent productions will also be screened, including “Death of a Parrot”, “The Great Debt” and “Sampan”, complemented by poster panels of his films.
“Degustation” is in many ways an unprecedented event with regard to exhibitions in general and local art spaces in particular. It is the first solo show of Maxim Bessmertny, a Macau-based Russian-born film director, screenwriter and producer, as well as the first attempt to show moving pictures as visual contents of an exhibition at Taipa Village Art Space.
The title of this exhibition is a metaphor for the way in which this unparalleled exhibition shall be understood. A tasting menu, specially conceived with local produce and designed to provide the consumer with a unique experience by utilizing some of the most unusual, yet, remarkable ingredients and flavours that can only be found in Macau. In filmic terms, Bessmertny’s films breathe the essence of Macau’s cultural diversity and contrasting urban environments: a relaxed tension between the high culture, propelled by a casino-driven society, and the low culture, characterized by the local working class that still earn their living through traditional trades.
The show comprises a selection of Bessmertny’s narrative short films and commercials from the last 7 years. One can see a clear evolution of his technical skills and audacity in the production while keeping his style and vision genuine: a combination of a wicked sense of humour, human desire, a narrative that revolves around a character and an object and, finally, a surrealistic take on the subject matter. If we were to describe his work in one location, it would be a scene shot in the Red Market, attracting the viewer because of its freshness and interaction. The rawness of all the live seafood exposed to the unfiltered eye, the intoxicating smells, the saturated colours, the overwhelming noise and the simultaneous events, all combine to become part of a hallucinating phenomenon and an unforgettable scene.
We look forward to seeing his directorial feature film in a cinema nearby one of these days!
About Maxim Bessmertny
Born in Vladivostok, in the former Soviet Union, Maxim moved to Macau in 1993. This is where he learned Portuguese, English and some Cantonese. Maxim finished high school in Thailand, studied philosophy in England and began his filmmaking career making internal infomercials at Wynn Macau. He completed his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film Production at The New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Maxim’s multicultural and multilingual exposure combined with his prolific knowledge of music, literature, history and art has led to a unique worldview evident in his storytelling. Employing humor, dramatic characterization and social satire, Maxim’s works require revisiting time and time again.
He founded Pontus Maximus Productions, an independent film company in 2013 that co-produced, wrote and directed his narrative short film Tricycle Thief. This film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, won the 2015 Gold Kodak Award for the best short film and has been played continuously in Macau, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Maxim has worked with numerous clients on commercials and advertisements, including Zouk Singapore, Pacha Macau and City of Dreams.
His latest effort is a partnership with a Macau company organized to produce What’s Your Art?, a mini-documentary series focused on eccentric characters living in Macau. He is currently developing his first directorial feature film.
Maxim’s Production Company www.pontusmaximus.com
1. Tricycle Thief (2014), 18 minutes
Macau’s colour-saturated late-night landscape of dark streets, back alleys and neon lights is tailor-made for trouble, as a desperate tricycle driver discovers in this cautionary tale of need and greed.
2. The Great Debt (2016), 3 minutes
A single bank note travels through different hands in Macau and returns to its original owner.
3. Death of a Parrot (2017), 8 minutes
A gluttonous grape addict is barred from the gardens of pleasure. He will only be allowed back if he does the garden manager a favour.
4. Sampan (2017), 18 minutes
A fishing net entangles a fisherman, a businessman and an actress into a love triangle in the South China Sea.